ATLANTA, May 3, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- William A. Parker, Jr., of Childers, Schlueter & Smith, LLC, obtained a $581,000.00 verdict, including $15,000.00 in punitive damages for his client Sandra Graves who suffered numerous injuries in a tractor-trailer collision including a lower back injury that ultimately required surgery to fuse vertebrae in her lumbar spine.
In May of 2007, Andrew Daley, a truck driver for GMC Trucking, chose to try to run a red light in a fully loaded 70,000-pound tractor-trailer, but instead, collided with two vehicles sitting at the traffic light at approximately 20-30 MPH. Sandra Graves, a 100% innocent victim, was in one of the vehicles. At trial, Graves' treating physicians, friends, and family members all testified as to her perfect health prior to the collision. They also testified about her unbearable pain and discomfort she endured and the other losses and harms she suffered due to the Defendants' carelessness.
The owner of GMC Trucking initially admitted he failed to conduct a pre-employment background check on Andrew Daley prior to hiring him, which is in violation of federal regulations. Had a proper background check been performed, GMC Trucking would have discovered that in the two years prior to his hiring, Daley was at fault for causing two rear-end collisions in a commercial vehicle, received two citations for following too closely in those collisions, had his commercial driver's license suspended for 60 days, and received a speeding citation in a tractor trailer just two months prior to the May, 2007 collision.
Daley also admitted that he did not fully disclose the prior collisions, citations, and suspensions on his application. One month prior to filing an Answer to Plaintiff's lawsuit, GMC Trucking also destroyed all documents related to Daley's application and the tractor-trailer involved in the collision. Because the documents were destroyed, the trial judge instructed the jury that a presumption arises that the documents would have been harmful to GMC Trucking. At trial, the owner of GMC Trucking completely changed his story and testified that he was fully aware of Daley's prior negative driving record, except for the one speeding citation, but still hired him. Based on this evidence, the trial judge allowed the jury to consider whether punitive damages should be assessed against GMC Trucking for negligent hiring and against Daley for a pattern and policy of reckless driving.
After a three day trial, a jury awarded Ms. Graves $566,000.00 in compensatory damages, and assessed $15,000.00 in punitive damages against GMC Trucking for negligent hiring.
For more information on William A. Parker Jr. visit: www.cssfirm.com
Sandra V. Graves v. Andrew R. Daley, Jr, GMC Trucking, LLC,
and Canal Insurance Company.
In the State Court of Dekalb County
State of Georgia
Civil Action #09A07271-2
SOURCE Childers, Schlueter & Smith, LLC